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The AASL Lesson Plan Database September 7, 2012

Posted by Jen Habley in Check this out!, Learning Standards, Learning4Life.
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Posted on behalf of Kathy Lowe


Have you checked out the AASL Lesson Plan Database yet? Now with over 100 published lessons contributed by practitioners in the field, the database showcases learning experiences for K-12 students that integrate the AASL Standards for the 21st Center Learner with classroom projects and assignments and are automatically cross-walked with ELA and Math Common Core State Standards upon publication. If you are looking for ways to teach your students the skills, dispositions, responsibilities and self-assessment strategies they need to be successful 21st century learners, this is the place to go.

Each lesson plan in the database is rich with details to help even the novice school librarian understand how to teach the Standards, helping practitioners understand that the Standards can be taught in a variety contexts. Since we have learned that students do not retain skills taught in isolation, contributors are required to submit lessons that support an assignment or project in a content area. Lesson plans provide a detailed Scenario that outlines the type of schedule (fixed, flexible or a combination of both), the amount of collaboration between the content area teacher and librarian that was involved and how the lesson fits into the bigger curriculum picture for that grade. A brief Overview accompanies the listing of lesson plans so that browsers may quickly find out what concept the lesson was designed to teach and the essential questions that students explored. Viewers can search the database in many ways, including by grade level, type of schedule, content area, resources used, standards that are taught and many more.

Along with a step-by-step explanation of how to teach each lesson using a four-step model, lesson plans include a description of how the students’ learning experience may be  assessed, with examples of how to assess not only the final product of the assignment, but the students’ learning process and progress as well. Putting students at the center of the learning process, lessons also include a list of questions that students should be reflecting upon during the experience and a description of how they will share and reflect upon their learning at the conclusion of the lesson.  Many contributors attach handouts, rubrics and other useful documents to their lesson plans.

To insure that lessons are of the highest quality and are presented consistently, they are vetted by trained AASL evaluators using a rubric developed for that purpose. Lessons often require several rounds of revisions before they are accepted for publication. Once a lesson has been published, contributors may request letters to be sent to their administrations and are given a badge to display on their library website or blog. Those who have submitted lessons and completed the vetting process have found it to be invaluable in helping them to truly internalize the Standards. Users of the database can rate and comment on the lessons, providing further feedback to contributors and helping searchers determine which lessons best meet their needs. The automatic cross-walk feature gives librarians an easy way to demonstrate how their library lessons support the Common Core State Standards.

Database users are encouraged to become contributors to ensure that this rich professional resource continues to grow and to return the favor to those whose lessons are already published there. To contribute a lesson plan, just go to http://aasl.jesandco.org, create an account, and click on Create Content. The link will take you to a template that contains all of the required fields with pop-up help windows to assist you with the process.

I hope to see YOUR lessons submitted soon!

Kathy Lowe is Executive Director of the Massachusetts School Library Association and Lead Moderator for the AASL Lesson Plan Database

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